What is going wrong?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Ariel301, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    I got a used LG incubator (the styrofoam kind with a fan in it and the metal wire around the top that heats up) a few months ago, and I have had very bad luck with hatches in it. Every time I use it, I clean and disinfect it thoroughly with bleach water, then rinse until the bleach smell is gone and let it sit a few days to dry out, to be sure there is no extra water or bleach left in the styrofoam.

    I have tried several thermometers/humidity gauges in it to be sure I don't have a bad one. All of the thermometers I try read exactly the right temperature in the incubator, 99.5 degrees. The humidity, I have some problems with. If I just fill the tray meant for water in there, the humidity will be good for a few hours, then will crash down to nothing. (I live in the desert and it is very, very dry here, the air sucks the water out of anything!) Or, I can line the bottom with sponges soaked in water, and the humidity will be more stable, but very high...80-90% I can't seem to get in that good range, it's either 20% or over 80% or wildly fluctuating in between. So, would it be better to stay too low, too high, or let it change a lot? I obviously cannot check the humidity every half an hour to adjust it over the whole incubation, that is way too much work!

    I turn the eggs three times daily, as is normal. (by hand, I don't have an automatic turner)

    When I open eggs from my hens for eating, they are all fertile. As I would expect, because right now I have an overload of roosters, about as many as I have laying hens. But, on candling, about half my eggs will be clear after a week or two in the incubator--no development at all. Then, I have another small die-off around 4-8 days, they will start to develop then quit. Then another few will quit around 2 weeks. Then when they get to lockdown, half will look good but never hatch, and upon opening I find a perfect but dead chick. The last few hatches I have tried, some started zipping, then died suddenly, like they just ran out of energy. Out of 50 eggs, I will get 1-4 chicks! Obviously something is not right. Is this just because of my humidity issues, or is there something else going on?
  2. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Are the eggs that have fully formed chicks real wet inside or real dry?
  3. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    I've had some that were kind of goopy, and others were about the moisture level you would expect on a hatching chick. I've had them hatching out anywhere from super goopy to dry as a bone and stuck to the shell too. Which makes me think it's the humidity at least partly to blame.
  4. akpeeps

    akpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2008
    Wasilla, Alaska
    I've had the same problem with my LG. I have one with a fan and one without. The one without the fan kept the humidity much more stable. Where do you have your incubator located? It should be in a room where the temperature stays pretty consistent. I had to put mine back in the laundry room and I've had fewer problems maintaining the humidity. The temperature in there stays around 73ish as I have a brooder with a heat lamp in there. The room humidity stays around mid 30%. I keep water in the channels and I use just one sponge in mine, which I place on top of the wire. I also find a little bit of water goes a long way when I put it on the sponge. Also, are you adding cold or warm water? Warm will spike the humidity really fast. Have you tried adjustsing with the vent plugs? I really had to keep an eye on the humidity until I figured out what worked...how much water and how often. The eggs needs to lose some moisture as it develops so a lower humidity is probably better if you can keep it somewhat stable. It does need to be over 50% during lockdown.

    I'm trying my first attempt at a "dry" hatch using my Brinsea Eco 20. I have no water in there and it has maintained humidity at 25% +/-. (Low 20% and high 28%) I candled on day 8 and I have at least 5 of 6 Lavender Orpingtons developing. One I wasn't sure about so left it in. Out of 18 BBS Orp eggs, I have 13 still in but I think only 3 are going to do anything so far. This is by far the best results I've had out of the last 4 sets of shipped eggs. I also bought the autoturner for it and I think that made a big difference also. I'll be using one of my LG's as a hatcher.
    If the eggs still have a lot of fluid when you open them, the humidity was too high and the chick may have drowned. If they're dry or not a lot of fluid, humidity was too low.

    I have 2 more sets of eggs arriving soon and I'll be using one of the LG's. The only thing I'll do different is add the turner to it so I don't have to keep opening it up. I'll see what kind of a difference that makes if any.
  5. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    If incubator humidity is being hard to control then you could try to control room humidity by adding something like a foggier or a fountain in to the room. You could also hook it to a humidistat to keep it consistent. Like this here. http://cmfarm.us/humiditycontrol.html

    could also find its own stable humidity an adjust the ventilation levels up or down to control evaporation from the eggs. More on that here. http://cmfarm.us/ventilation.html

    know if that helps.. There are a lot of people on here from the desert that may be able to help ya more.
  6. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    I too have a Little Giant but mine is still air and my last hatch was 10 out of 11 eggs....I would try the next hatch with no fan just to see if that helps. The fan motor itself may be drying out the water? At least that may be the case since you live in a dry climate. Someone once told me that hydrometers (or hygrometers?) aren't always accurate and unfortunately, that has been the case for me so here's what I do: (keep in mind I live in a more humid environment than the desert) I fill one of the little "tray" reservoirs in my incubator and keep it full the entire incubation. Around lockdown day I fill all three trays and even lightly moisten a sponge that I set under the wire. I do still use a hydrometer but it is only just so effective. I found that if it read 65% I was having shrink wrapping but if it said 70+% they were able to hatch very well. Mine is a digital-readout temp/hydro combo...like someone else said: if they are coming out soaking wet, humidity is too high. Dry hatches: too low humidity. Try some minor tweaking and if your humidity is obviously too high around hatch time remove a vent plug or two.
  7. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    I keep the incubator in my home office usually, but I also tried in the bathroom since I figured the humidity in there would be higher, and since it's small with no windows and easy to keep the door shut, I would have more control. It doesn't seem to work better in there. When I fill just the water tray in the bottom, it will be empty and the humidity will all be gone within a couple of hours. If I plug some more ventilation holes to keep the water in, it overheats. Argh. Maybe I need a new incubator.

    I'm noticing another thing too, I don't know if it is related. The chicks that do manage to hatch have another die-off a few days after hatching. They'll be perfect when I check them, then I will find some weak and gasping or already dead the next time I check them. It literally looks like they just run out of energy and fall over. They have constant access to water and chick starter. Medicated vs. non medicated doesn't seem to make a difference.

    It's so frustrating to have to set around 60 eggs for every ONE chick I want to make it past a few days old! What a waste.

    So keeping it at lower humidity until lockdown would be ok? The humidity in the house is generally around 20% if it has not rained, and then if it does, will spike up for a few hours to a couple of days until the rain dries up. I have a humidifier, but it does not seem to raise the humidity a bit when I run it in the bedroom at night.
  8. onehorse_2000

    onehorse_2000 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    I borrowed an LG this past spring and I had to tape up just about every hole that the company had put in it to keep the humidity right. They are a rough incubator to work with, in my opinion.
  9. mothersin2ition

    mothersin2ition Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2008
    Othello, WA
    I have an LG but its new, and Ive loved it so far. Just hatched out 10/10 that made it to lockdown, there were only 12 to start with and one was infertile. Anyway, Im thinking you might be better served just investing in a new incubator. Not nessecarily saying another LG, but it sounds like the one you have for sure is having serious issues.
    Good luck, whatever you decide to do, I hope your future hatch rates are much much better [​IMG]

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